Maybe it was the last-minute venue change that caused crowd energy to be somewhat lacking at the beginning of stand-up double act of the Joes, White Vs Black. Canadian emcee and aspiring comedian Neema did little to warm it up, with most of his self-deprecating material missing the mark on a disengaged audience who nonetheless were excited to meet Joe Black.
Burgeoning comedian Emmanuel, as Black, flipped the switch and confidently strode onto the stage – showing why in this game, black goes first. The fresh comic’s easy grin relaxed the room as he recounted his hilarious personal experience with race, authority, sex and lightsabers.
Black’s charming style of observational humour was sometimes predictable but also immensely likeable, and his vivid storytelling cultivated a casual environment that most resembled listening to a compelling friend spinning tales at a bar. Although confident, there were points during the evening where he seemed distracted, something I simply chalked up to nerves and working through new material.
Joe Black set the stage perfectly for childhood friend and established comic Joe White, who soon had the room howling as he took pot shots at his fellow stage members. White held the room with a practiced flow and delivery, telling highly amusing anecdotes of his mother, who sat at the side of the room with tears of laughter streaming down her face.
The highly acclaimed Ethiopian comedian proved his salt with engaging audience banter and the occasional disparaging remark about Rockingham.
I would be remiss not to mention the unique event that made this particular show something special. At close, Joe Black revealed that he had one more secret prepared for the evening, calling his girlfriend on stage. The look on her face when he asked her to marry him led me to believe that it was not actually a shameless grab at a better rating and that he does not, in fact, do this every time – sorry, other attendees. The crowd erupted in applause as she (thankfully) said yes, a heart-warming conclusion to a thoroughly entertaining set.
Congratulations to the beautiful couple!